Working Student Contract

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Working Student Contract

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    01-02-2014, 01:33 PM
Question Working Student Contract

Hi everyone,

I am in the middle of creating some sort of working student contract. I beleive working students are part of my training & business TEAM and want them to know how serious their position is and that it is a job not just a way to work off a lessons. I've had a few problems in the past and hoping that this will help make it clear what expectations are, how to do the job duties, etc. It will be paired with a binder for weekly duties and who is doing what so there is no discrepancy among my students, etc.

I'm planning on including a few other things, like a non-disclosure agreement, especially with client matter. I don't need things getting out of the barn and to other trainers, etc that just cause drama (I try to create a drama free environment!). And also since I am in a shared location, to add that they won't be allowed to work at another stable on site as a student for at least 6 months after ending work with me. Does that sound fair? I have had a problem with another trainer bribing my working students when I am not there.

What are your general thoughts? Anything I should add, or take away?
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    01-02-2014, 01:43 PM
Green Broke
I don't think it's fair to force a working student to sign over their right to work for another trainer for half a year after quitting with you. Perhaps state in the contract that X number of days/weeks notice is required to end the arrangement, but I wouldn't ever sign up for a working student arrangement if the trainer was to prevent my moving on after ending work with them. I don't know the full situation, but it immediately strikes me as off putting.
beau159, beverleyy, boots and 4 others like this.
    01-02-2014, 02:19 PM
"6 months after ending work...." All the contracts I have ever signed to be a working student only had me put in notice before quitting. I don't think that it's fair to expect someone to hold off working for 6 months. I myself worked under two different trainers at the same location, I don't know the situation your referring to but none of my employers ever had a problem with me working under a different trainer so long as I got my work done and done well for them. They didn't even mind if I helped a third or fourth trainer out with their work in exchange for a lesson so long as I did what I previously state. The non disclosure and all that jazz is good on paper but imo if an ex employee is going to start drama it won't do much, I wouldn't take it away but just know that there will always be SOME amount of drama in the horse world and it seems like only a thick skin and ignoring it will prevent it from harming you (sad as it is).
    01-02-2014, 07:57 PM
Originally Posted by olympustraining    
And also since I am in a shared location, to add that they won't be allowed to work at another stable on site as a student for at least 6 months after ending work with me.
I am all for a clear set agreement and contract between employers and employees (working students), but if you want to limit your student's opportunites after their time with you, then you are describing a non-compete agreement.

I am not a lawyer, but I am looking at a California business document from a corporate legal department right now, addressing non-competes in California.

The document states that non-competes in California are illegal with few exceptions, one being if you are selling a small business. California will recognize an employer's right to protect trade secrets, but only if the employer can show that the information really is proprietary and should be kept secret--not just because the employer says it is. Even client lists are not secret if the information can be obtained in other ways besides the employer's internal lists. Employers who have fired employees working in California for refusing to sign a non-compete agreement have been liable to the employee for wrongful termination and have been liable for damages for unfair trade practices for trying to enforce a non-compete agreement in bad faith.
    01-02-2014, 09:07 PM
I would never sign a non-compete contract as a working student. Everything else is okay.
updownrider, boots and EliRose like this.
    01-05-2014, 02:41 PM
I understand about not being able to find work for 6 months. This is an unpaid job, anyway. What I am trying to prevent, is that they cannot work with another trainer AT THE SAME LOCATION within 6 months of ending things. There are plenty of other stables in the area, just not wanting someone who works at the same physical stable since we have a number of trainers. Maybe 3 months would be more appropriate?

Yes updownrider, I think a "non-compete contract" is what I am referring to, I will look into the California law more thoroughly.

I definitely want in my contract that students can only ride with my barn while they are working (with clinics as an exception, or something that was discussed). If they want to take paid lessons with me and multiple trainers, that's great! But as a working student, in my opinion, you are representing my barn and business, and I want to see commitment. I don't NEED working students, it's something I would like to offer for people who can't afford lessons but who are serious about learning and becoming better riders with my techniques.
    01-05-2014, 02:47 PM
Also, please keep in mind, my working student program does not require that students have their own horses. So it's not like they would be in a position where if ending a working student agreement, they wouldn't be able to afford care for their horse, etc. And this is a fairly small program with 2-3 working students max, who I prefer to stay for an extended period of time.
    01-05-2014, 04:06 PM
It does not sound like a good position at all. Unpaid? Or "paid" by getting to take a lesson?

I would neither accept, nor offer, such a position. And I would never make a person sign a non-compete at such a low level in their career.

Offer an entry level position, at entry level pay, entice your staff to stay of by making the job requirements doable, helping them see what a vital part of the operation they are, and offer opportunities to ride and improve in all aspects of the business as incentive to stay.

You will always lose some to other trainers with the "grass is greener" effect. How long do they stay with the trainer who is troublesome to you? If not long, then word will get out. That trainer will become known for empty promises. Or, the ones who left weren't committed anyway.

But, honestly, and this is from someone who has been in the business a long time, if you find that the workers/working students who leave you DO stay at the troublesome trainer's barn, you may want to find out why. See if there is anything they are doing that you could incorporate into your program, or is there something else that these new workers would value.
    01-05-2014, 05:30 PM
I have some students who have been with me for years, and others who are more wishy-washy, and I do understand this is part of the game. The position is enticing, they get a lot more than just lessons. They learn the ins and outs of my training, get to school the horses and help with training once they are good enough riders, and the duties are easy, mostly grooming with no mucking. I have a lot of applicants and lots of people to choose from which is nice :)

I agree with you about the grass is greener and that people will prove their own methods.

I think with more consideration, 6 months is far too long (the original post was more of just thoughts on a whim) and what I believe I will be doing is either a 30 or 45 day non-compete for barns within 2 miles (aka only the stable I am at). This can be given when they give written notice, or they can quit and then start up with another trainer after the agreed upon days expire. If they quit and choose to work somewhere else the next day at a different facility, I could care less.

I also have a 1-2 month "training/probation" period, so this wouldn't apply to anyone who first started working and then decided they didn't like it.
    01-05-2014, 05:50 PM
Originally Posted by olympustraining    
I think with more consideration, 6 months is far too long (the original post was more of just thoughts on a whim) and what I believe I will be doing is either a 30 or 45 day non-compete for barns within 2 miles (aka only the stable I am at).

Seriously? Did you look into California law?

contract, legal form, trainer, working student, working student contract

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